How to NOT Kill Your Houseplants

BY Nina Greenhill

Hello. I am a person who possesses no green thumbs.

I bought a succulent in March at the start of this whole COVID-19 thing and have only remembered to water it twice. It hasn’t yet died, that I know of. There isn’t a plant alive that I haven’t found a way to inadvertently kill. I would argue that this makes me an armchair expert in this arena and hopefully you can learn from my own errors.

1. Don’t have any.

Buying fake house plants will most likely do the job of jazzing up your abode and making it look nice. By having fake ones, you also eliminate the chance of killing a live plant and living with the guilt of murdering an organism. My suggestion is to buy some nice face stemmed flowers and chuck them in that super cool glass coke bottle, odd mug, or a clean Noah’s smoothie bottle. Gives that recycling vibe with your plastic plants. This way, your brain still sees the green and connects it to regenerative, nature-driven health without worrying about anything else.

2. If you ignored suggestion 1, make careful note of the care instructions before you purchase it.

Take into consideration how big the house plant is and if you’d really like to have THAT MUCH soil sitting around for your dog/small child/unco friend to knock over. Plants also need sunlight and won’t do too well in the dark corner next to the kettle. If you need help deciding which plant will suit your life, PLEASE speak to the kind team members at bunnings or Flower Power. Although they will make profits if you keep killing your plant and buying more, it’d be swell for you to keep it alive in the first place. Start with a low budget. Don’t go for the ultra-expensive one that requires you to backflip twelve times for it in the morning so it will survive. Start with the $5 tiny succulent and flowerpot combo. Once you’ve has success with that, then start thinking in incrementally bigger steps.

3. Cactuses don’t need much water?

In saying that, occasionally they do. I have managed to kill a cactus before, so don’t think it isn’t possible. But they are a pretty low maintenance plant. Don’t drown it and you should be okay. Sometimes it has flowers?

4. Treat it like a pet.

Make a watering schedule and stick to it. If it says water every 2-3 days, do it. Don’t forget plant food. Yes, plants need food too. Talk to your flower power garden specialist to see if and what you may need.

Name the plant. This will not only give opportunity to funny miscommunications but will solidify the plant into your mind as a THING that you have to care for. One step further to make it feel like part of the family is to take a picture of it and put it on the fridge, in a frame or next to it. This way it will feel accepted into your loving arms and hopefully not die.

5. Accept that you have no green thumb or any other finger and give in.

All the plants you desire are kept in the fridge or the cupboard. The crisper keeps them fresh and they taste yummy. The way to keep these houseplants from dying is to eat them as fast as possible. I suggest a stir fry, roasted in the oven, in a soup, and for a crunch and munch break. The closest I get to being a master gardener is watching the movie ‘Greenfingers’ (2001) while eating rosemary potatoes. You don’t have to partake in gardening to appreciate it.

Final quick tips:

-    Steam kills any potted herbs.

-    Fake plants look just as nice as real ones.

-    Not all window avocado pit projects work out. Some grow mould.

-    If you can’t manage to keep a houseplant alive, there are lots of local parks where other people are paid to keep outdoor plants alive. You are free to enjoy those.


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